At least that is how we the passenger view the flight attendant position. In reality, there is more to the position than meets the eye. Flight attendants are responsible for the care and safety of passengers and must know first aide and know most everything about the aircraft they are on. Nevertheless, the flight attendant salary varies from airline to airline and is based primarily on seniority.
The pay is based on seniority with the majority of the airlines. The salary is written in stone because it is under contract with the union. The union negotiates the contract with the airlines and whatever number they come up with in the end is what you get paid in accordance to your seniority. Air hostesses are paid by the hour; but not for every hour they work. Most airlines only pay their attendants for the time in flight. Quite often they do not get paid when customers are boarding or when they are departing. But there are variations to this as well.
Let’s explore this a little more closely. For instance, a new attendant fresh out of training might only make $20 per hour to start. Most contracts specify an automatic raise in 6 months. However, an attendant with 5 years seniority might make $35 an hour and a 15 year veteran might make $45. The pay rate is dependent on seniority more than anything else. Airlines all pay a little different because it is based on the union negotiation. In accordance, the benefits will vary as well. Typically, the union and the airline will get together every 5 years or less to negotiate a new contract.
Although FAs are not paid for down time; the airline does pay for their hotels and pay for their meals as well. In addition, airline employees get to fly for free during their free time. Again, each airline compensation package will vary in accordance with the union contract. The average mid range annual flight attendant salary is around $36,000, but some could be making $20,000 and others $60,000 depending on seniority. Therefore, the pay a flight attendant makes depends on many variations. You can make good money as a flight attendant once you have earned your wings of seniority.